Schwertgasse house


Schwertgasse, 9000 St.Gallen

Type of contract

Direct commission, 2004

Construction period





Tobias Maximilian Schnell


Karin Gauch and Fabien Schwartz


René Hornung, Werner Huber: St.Gallen baut. Ein Führer zur zeitgenössischen Architektur. Edition Hochparterre, Zürich 2014.

Schwertgasse is located in the St. Mangen quarter in the north-east of the old town of St.Gallen. Buildings from different periods come together to form a dense and multi-layered urban structure. The new building at Schwertgasse 15 replaces an old town house destroyed by fire in 2002. The unobtrusive mixed-use building makes references to its neighbouring buildings, from different eras. In addition to Schwertgasse, the plot is bordered by the narrow Heidengässlein, which leads into Katharinengasse, where the former Dominican convent of St. Katharina is located. More

The plan of the building takes up the winding course of the Heidengässlein and makes it tangible by means of narrow windows to the alley space. On the ground floor, a commercial space typical of the area has shop windows facing Schwertgasse. The first floor contains an apartment with a terrace to the rear. A duplex apartment extends over the second and third floors. This benefits from a roof terrace with evening sun and a breath-taking view over the roofs of the area. A single-storey studio connects the house with the neighbouring building to the west.
With its simple main facade, the new building blends into the historic row of houses on the street. In the facade, the grey base, made of bush-hammered concrete stands out against the lightly plastered upper floors. The externally hinged bronze windows echo the flush front windows of the neighbouring timber-framed houses. Another common feature with the neighbouring houses are the striking, brown-painted wooden shutters. Their narrowest sides are covered with words, a work by the artist Tobias Maximilian Schnell. The side facade towards Heidengässlein has freely arranged perforated windows, without shutters. The hidden rear facade is executed in bush-hammered concrete. The studio where the building joins the neighbouring house is clad in a painted timber, which emphasises its character as a courtyard building.

Schwertgasse, St.Gallen
Window shutter detail
Facade towards Schwertgasse
View towards Heidengässlein
Floor plans of apartments
Cross section
A typical living room
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